Bigger, Better, Best! by Stuart J. Murphy

It is sometimes incredibly frustrating how much my sons learn from TV. It’s not suppose to be like that. TV is suppose to turn their brains to mush (according to my dad), not teach them about science (thanks Magic School Bus), music (surprisingly, Backyardiggans), enrich their vocabulary (Martha Speaks) and virtually teach them to read (Word World). And no, they don’t watch that much TV, they just watch many different PBS programs…. oh well. The other day, my 5 year old told me that we shouldn’t watch too much TV because it ruins your powers to think (we were having a sick-kids-means-movies day). “That’s right!” I said, feeling proud that TV hadn’t totally rotted his brain. “Where did you hear that?” I asked. “From Sid the Science Kid,” he said nonchalantly. Stupid PBS. 

Bigger, Better, Best!

Bigger, Better, Best!

Anyway, my kids do learn a lot from books, but the science and match stuff is sometimes hard to get from a book, unless it’s the Magic School Bus. But one book that has really taught my son a lot about math is Bigger, Better, Best! by Stuart J. Murphy, part of his Math Start series. While math stories might have you thinking about two trains heading toward each other at different speeds, this story is actually quite good and applicable to children. Jeff and Jenny are always arguing about whose stuff is better. When they move to their new house, they want to know who has the bigger window, whose room is larger, etc. etc. With the aid of paper sheets, they set out to figure out the surface area of their two different shaped windows and rooms. Figuring out the surface area works nicely into the story and doesn’t turn the book into one of those didactic stories no child wants to read again. Besides, with bickering siblings, kids can relate.

By the way, Jill, the youngest, is clear that her room is best because while it’s the smallest, it’s the farthest from her bickering siblings. So you get math and values. Who said math had to be dull?

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1 Comment »

  1. scubacor said

    Oh, sounds very cute. Thanks. Elinor Pinczes also writes picture books about math concepts (i.e. One Hundred Hungry Ants)

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